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I have a few PCs that are losing time, and I'd like windows to synch them more often with the internet time. I think the windows default attempts to update only once per day, and does not update if the time server is not available (which seems to happen quite often) meaning the PCs can end up 20 or 30 seconds out.

I'd like to create a scheduled task to do this say every 5 mins, and if the default time server is not available use mul

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Wouldn't it be easier to determine the reason the computers in question cannot connect to the time server? – Ramhound Jan 7 '13 at 15:20
    
Have you looked at W32tm? technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc773263(v=ws.10).aspx – Jane T Jan 7 '13 at 15:44
    
Will take a look now - thanks Jane – DermFrench Jan 7 '13 at 16:48

Go to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Task scheduler

left is an folder tree, expand: Task scheduler library > Microsoft > Windows > Time synchonization

right click the task: SynchronizeTime > properties

On the tab: Triggers you can add the triggers you want.

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The OP asked for a time sync interval of 20-30s. This is only possible with the trick to define multiple triggers – nixda May 17 '15 at 8:59
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Common misconception, but you really can't be blamed! This scheduled task only ensures the Windows Time service is running... Thus, even if you trigger the task more often, it's still the service that decides when to synchronize, which apparently is weekly. – Gras Double Nov 14 '15 at 8:54
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To change poll frequency: registry key HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient, edit DWORD SpecialPollInterval, in seconds (e.g. for one day: hexadecimal 15180 or decimal 86400). – Gras Double Nov 17 '15 at 16:12
    
Great! this trick worked for me on my W7 OS – razor7 Jun 15 at 0:16
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Folks, I got this running with windows built in w32tm and a scheduled task (see below).

First step was to config w32tm to use many different time servers (and also to log so we could see what was happening). Second step was to schedule w32tm in task scheduler. I liked this solutions as it didn't require any 3rd part tools. It is really important to set up the different time servers as I find quite often they don't respond.

Configure w32tm

Open Command prompt (Run the following as admin)

w32tm /config /manualpeerlist:"time.nist.gov time.windows.com time-nw.nist.gov time-a.nist.gov time-b.nist.gov time-a.timefreq.bldrdoc.gov time-b.timefreq.bldrdoc.gov time-c.timefreq.bldrdoc.gov utcnist.colorado.edu" /syncfromflags:manual /update

w32tm /query /configuration

Check to see the NTP server list is updated correctly ie it reflects the peer list you have just entered

w32tm /debug /enable /file:C:\windows\temp\w32time.log /size:10000000 /entries:300

Browse to directory and check to see the log has been created

Change system time manually(so that the time is now out of sync), then go back to command prompt and run the resync command

w32tm /resync

Check system time has been updated. **If you get an error about the time service not being started you can use the command net start w32time then try another resync

If you get the following error: The compter did not resync because the required time change was too big. then use this command to resync: w32tm /resync /force

If this works successfully then all you have to do is configure the following scheduled task to run as often as you want (it will use your peer list configured above).

Schedule w32tm

Program/Script Argument

%windir%\system32\sc.exe start w32time task_started
%windir%\system32\w32tm.exe /resync
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You can use TimeSync to automate time syncing.

  • upside: doesn't register a whole service like W32tm (which you have, when you use W32tm)
  • upside: its portable and can be run with /auto option from the startup folder
  • downside: third-party tool and not a build-in solution

    enter image description here

TimeSync gets the current time from a NIST server, and adjusts the PC clock if necessary. Accuracy is usually within a second. [...] TimeSync will try alternative servers, in case the time cannot be obtained from the preferred server.

Option /auto is provided to run TimeSync from the StartUp folder. In this mode the TimeSync window will not show if the clock offset is under a given minimum.


Of course you can still register the build-in solution W32tm with cmd.exe → W32tm /register and set up your scheduled task to call cmd.exe → W32tm /resync every 5 minutes.

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You can also try this program: http://www.worldtimeserver.com/atomic-clock/ It allows you to change windows time service settings - the easy way.

Also forcing sync with it works, while the windows "update now" almost never works.

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  1. These W32TM related instructions in the @DermFrench answer appear to be for Win7 or later. In particulate, XP doesn't have /debug and logging options. (The XP system event log has information about each sync request, but it's scattered all over the place. Look for events 35 & 36.)

The rest of the W32tm instructions apply to XP and worked very well for me.

  1. @Gras Double: the script has two lines, the first makes the service is running (it's normally an automatic start and always running, but who knows...), and the second fires off a resync request to the service.

  2. @nixda: Again, this is Win7. XP doesn't have a the task scheduler msc snapin. I mention this only for the benefit of XP people, not intending any correction to your words.

  3. @Gras Double's instruction to update the W32time registry key is the easiest way to fire the sync request more often and remove the need for a scheduled task.

  4. For those who want to avoid W32tm (or don't have it), the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\Parameters\NtpServer (type REG_SZ ) contains the list of servers to try, separated by spaces.

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Follow these instructions to actually sync time on Windows 7:

https://www.pretentiousname.com/timesync/index.html

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